Set up / Action Question

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Chanan, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. Chanan

    Chanan Tele-Meister

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    I imagine this has probably been addressed before, but I couldn’t find it anywhere here...

    I got my tele set up about a month ago, and the action was gloriously low and an absolute dream to play.

    Last night I had a gig, so yesterday afternoon I put a new set of strings on - Ernie Ball 11s - which is what the guitar was set up with. When I was playing in the afternoon, the action was high, but I figured it would settle as the strings stretched out (it made sense in my head...). But last night the action was incredibly high and a PIA to play.

    Did I do something when I changed the strings? The neck relief appeared to my untrained eye to be unchanged, but should I try tightening the truss rod? Should I try dropping the saddles?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Cam

    Cam Tele-Afflicted

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    Did you remove all the old strings at once? I prefer to do it one at a time and keep the neck somewhat in the tension zone when changing strings. Sounds like some adjustment is in order.
    I cringe when I see the local store snip off all the strings on customer work then restring. That is s lot of tension released on the neck quickly. Bigger charge for a set up I guess with way more tweaking in order.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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  3. heltershelton

    heltershelton Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    theres definitely something going on there.
    ive been changing strings for a very long time and have always taken them all off at once and have never had a problem.
    its hard to tell over the net what the problem is.
     
  4. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Why the neck shifted could be nothing more than a change in humidity. Low humidity would not impact saddle height but it can impact neck relief. Is the guitar kept humidified somehow?

    Action is always set first by adjusting the amount of relief. Tightening the truss rod will reduce the amount of relief and lower the action but there is a prescribed way to measure the relief too.
     
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  5. Cam

    Cam Tele-Afflicted

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  6. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

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    If the set up was done with older strings, that could have something to do with it, as well as the temp/humidity changes going on right now.
     
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  7. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    My necks have had weather related issues lately.
    But I never like to remove strings all at once, either.
     
  8. Chanan

    Chanan Tele-Meister

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    The set up was done with new strings, but this is the first time I changed them since the set up a month ago.

    The guitar is in my apartment, not humidified in any way. I also flew with it twice last week.

    I took off all the strings at once and out new ones on, not one at a time
     
  9. Guitaryellow

    Guitaryellow Tele-Meister

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    Are you sure the old strings were 11's, was there more tension? Just a thought.
     
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  10. Chanan

    Chanan Tele-Meister

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    Definitely 11s - I gave the tech the strings before he did the set up
     
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  11. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    I have changed strings both ways, i.e. taking them all off at once, and one at a time. Never found that taking them all off at once caused a problem. (Either way, though, I always loosen them before cutting them.)

    An easy way to check the relief is to fret the low E string at the first fret, and with your other hand fret the low E at the highest fret, and check the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the frets somewhere in the middle of the neck. For my playing style, there’s very little gap (e.g., probably less than the thickness of a business card). I like just enough to ensure that there’s no back-bow. Some folks might prefer more, but it shouldn’t be much.
     
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  12. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It's low humidity season and when you toss in air travel the neck has been drying out. As it does the neck will bow more and increase the amount of relief. Happens to many guitars in the winter months once the heat is on constantly and they are not kept humidified. It's normal and an even bigger battle year round in places like where I live because it's very dry most of the year.

    IMHO string gauge and how you did the string change have nothing to do with it. I remove all of my strings at once every time I restring. Once under tension the neck will usually return to it's previous state and if not I tweak the truss rod a bit after I check the string height at the 7th fret. I'd suggest checking that as prescribed in any setup guide and adjusting your truss rod.

    Are you familiar with how to do that?
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  13. Smiff

    Smiff Tele-Holic

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    Not any help to the OP, but...

    How much do environmental conditions really affect guitars? I ask because I give my Strat a going over every Spring and Autumn because it’s almost the expected thing to do but my Dad has never done anything to his bolt on neck acoustic since 1970 save for string changes and it consistently is the best feeling guitar I’ve ever played - lower action than my Strat and never buzzes. He lives down the road from me so basically the same weather for him.

    EDIT: I live in the UK near the coast so the weather is the same all year round really, maybe the odd hot day in Summer or cold day in Winter, but usually not for prolonged periods and not drastic changes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  14. Chanan

    Chanan Tele-Meister

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    Yes. I checked the relief and with the end of an 11 gauge E string, and it was a tight fit - which as far as I understand is within normal.

    I don’t have an actual string height ruler, but what I’ve used in the past is a credit card that I measured 3,4,5/64s on. It is above 5/64s now on the Low E (from what I remember after the set up it was 4/64s)
     
  15. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    This is how it's done and how I do it as well. A business card inserted under the strings at the 7th fret or if you have them use a feeler gauge to measure the amount of relief. If you prefer low action the neck itself should be almost flat with little or no relief and a business card will just barely slide under the strings and it will remain in place when the guitar is returned to playing position.
     
  16. Chanan

    Chanan Tele-Meister

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    So should I adjust the truss rod or let the guitar ‘settle’ first?

    I suppose it’s all worth mentioning I live in NYC, where it’s be going from coldish to super freakin cold, and I take the guitar back and forth with me quite a bit to lessons and the studio...
     
  17. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If there are major swings in humidity as there are here in Denver the impact can be significant if I don't humidify the room my guitars are kept in or if they aren't kept in a humidified case as I do with any acoustic. Even then I need to tweak the action several times a year.

    If there's little change in the seasonal RH where you live the impact would not be as great if the guitars are not humidified. Also different guitars and different neck material and construction can also have an impact. My maple neck Fenders seem to shift more than my mahogany neck Epiphones.
     
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  18. Smiff

    Smiff Tele-Holic

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    Near enough, I think Fender recommend 0.010”. You might as well leave your’s.
     
  19. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If the action is too high for you now I'd adjust it to your liking then allow it to settle in overnight and check it again making any other tweaks it may need.

    Based on your environment, the swings in temps and humidity, and your travel I would also suggest buying a case humidifier and keeping the guitar cased when not in use.

    This system works quite well.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...MIl6Lq2Y6m2AIVSIV-Ch2aTgCAEAYYASABEgLWUPD_BwE

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Smiff

    Smiff Tele-Holic

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    I might leave my Strat this year and see what if anything happens, it’s pretty much always raining here and maybe 10 degrees C of temperature variance all year. I do sometimes need to retune it when going out and maybe it buzzes sometimes but nothing as bad as the OP or other posters on here. Guess I’m lucky with my miserable weather haha.

    His has a Mahogany neck so you might be onto something there.
     
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